The RSPCA has launched an investigation after a pet cat was horrifically set on fire in a Hampshire town. The remains of the animal, which were severely burned, were discovered on a country lane by a cat owner.
The poor pet, which was wearing a collar, was ‘callously’ set on fire with a heat so ‘ferocious’ it melted the surface of the road where it was found. The charity suspect it was a ‘deliberate and premeditated’ arson attack.
Graphic images released by the RSPCA show the charred remains of the animal after a ‘shocked’ cat owner spotted it while driving on the road in in Sherborne St John, near Basingstoke. The discovery was so horrific it reduced an experienced RSPCA inspector to tears.
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The motorist stopped and picked up the cat’s body before contacting the RSPCA. Investigators say the charred condition of the animal means it is impossible to say whether it was male or female and they cannot determine if it was dead before being set alight.
But, the animal charity believes the cat was ‘deliberately set on fire’ in a ‘premeditated’ attack. Deputy chief inspector Hannah Boyle said: “I’ve been working as an inspector for over three years and I can honestly say this is one of the most cruel, sad and upsetting things I have ever seen or been called to deal with.
WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGE
“Such was the condition of the body that we can’t say whether this poor animal was alive before he or she was callously set on fire, but even if this wasn’t the case, what sort of person gets pleasure or thinks it’s funny to do this to someone’s pet? The body still smelled very strongly of smoke when I arrived, which suggests to me that the cat had only recently been set on fire, and from everything I saw at the scene I believe it was premeditated.
“The tufts of fur that weren’t singed and charred were pale in colour, so we think this was probably a white or pale-coloured cat. He or she was obviously someone’s much loved pet as there were the disintegrated remains of a collar near the body and a flattened area of fur around the neck where the collar would have sat.
“I visited the finder at her house to retrieve the body and to say thank you for stopping, and we shed a few tears together. Like me, she’s a cat owner and there are just no words to describe how we felt when we saw what had happened.”
Smashed green glass and a screw top from a bottle of wine were also found on the road which is isolated in the Hampshire countryside and several minutes away from any houses. Insp Boyle urged people to come forward with information.